Harmon Kardon volume control: when does it distort?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave_Whiting, Sep 29, 2002.

  1. Dave_Whiting

    Dave_Whiting Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello,

    I recently bought a H/K avr 220. I was wondering what volume level on a receiver like this can you expect to get distortion (ie clipping).

    Also lets assume you are diving your speakers with clean current but you can hear the bass distorting is that harming your speakers. Also how can you tell whether the receiver is clipping or the speakers are distorting??

    THanks
     
  2. Lee Petty

    Lee Petty Stunt Coordinator

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    unless the distortion is coming off your audio source (like a jimi hendrix cd, there is a lot of distortion in the recording cause jimi made it), it will eventually hurt your speakers. power doesnt kill speakers, distortion does.
    what are your speakers rated at power wise? if its over what the receiver specs for its output, its likely the receiver. if it is low, then it could be the speakers. you can get speaker distortion 2 ways. when your amp is straining to give power to the speakers, and when the speakers are getting plenty of power but cant handle the volume level.
     
  3. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    How big is your room?

    How far away are you from the speakers?

    What kind of speakers do you run?

    A basic figure is this - The 220 is rated at 50 wpc in stereo, right? And speakers have a rated SPL for 1 watt...

    So if your speakers are 90db with 1w at 1 meter, and every 3 db increase needs 2x power, you can figure...

    1w 90db
    2w 93db
    4w 96db
    8w 99db
    16w 102db
    32w 105db
    64w 108db

    Minus 4 - 6db for every doubling of the distance from the speakers - 102db @ 64w @ 2M

    Minus power compression - speakers lose some of the power to heat as power input rises...

    Plus a few db for room reinforcement...


    etc...
     
  4. Jonathan M

    Jonathan M Second Unit

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    Hey Dave,

    I'd personally suspect the speakers before the H/K, but we do need more info. I assume:

    1. You're not running the thing with the volume control too high.

    2. Your speakers are likely ported - are you running them on small mode?

    The reason I suspect the speakers is because you say that it is the bass that is distorting. I would think that they are trying to exceed their excursion capabilities. Try switching the xover point higher and see if that helps (Can't remember if this is possible on the 3500)

    If you list a few things such as: Speaker type (include dimensions of the woofer) it may help track down the problem. Note that I have Mission 701's which are fairly large (450x210x300) bookshelves and they distort on bass with my NAD C320 set to around 1/5 on the volume dial sometimes. Small speakers are generally not designed with powerful bass in mind - that's why DIY is the way to go!

    Cheers
    Jonathan
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    As Colin stated, there is NO WAY to know at what volume your setup will distort, without knowing what your setup actually is.

    The ammount of current/wattage your speakers need to be driven without distortion, and their physical capabilities, as well as how you have them setup, are the largest factor in what point you will get distortion, but there are plenty of other factors (as noted).
     
  6. Dave_Whiting

    Dave_Whiting Stunt Coordinator

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    My to front speakers are

    C-800
    Floor Standing
    4x6.5" drivers and a tweeter
    91 db sensitivity
    10-300 power handleing
    30-36 freq response
    1245x230x295mm dimensions
    29 pounds weight

    Playing very bass heavy music it begins to distort at about -5dB on the volume control. Mind you it I find it a bit differcult to tell when its distorting. I think its the speakers distorting.

    One question: If you don't do any physical damage to your speakers by suppling to much power or bad power, can you still damage your speakers. i.e. is it all (they blow up) or nothing(they will be fine)?
     
  7. Dave_Whiting

    Dave_Whiting Stunt Coordinator

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    Would bi-wiring do anything??
     
  8. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    I'll bet 5 bucks you are using the tone controls....(If I'm wrong, do you take Paypal?)
    Don't use the tone controls excessively - a bump out of center if at all.
    Also, -5 on my HK with 86db speakers is WAY loud. I can't go over -12, for the sake of my ears, not distortion.
    What's a c800? Who makes it?
    Don't worry, no bashing is allowed. I just wonder if they are ported - at high volumes with tweaked bass, ports can fart and add dist.
     
  9. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    Bi wiring comment is opinion only...
    Now, if you want to actively bi-AMP, get a powered sub and you're golden
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Dave_Whiting

    Dave_Whiting Stunt Coordinator

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    I am not using the tone controls and it is loud. I was just experimenting [​IMG]
    Also the c-800 is made by american acoustic development. Phil Jones owns the company. THey seem pretty good to me.
    www.aadsound.com
     
  11. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    Nice speaker! WOW!
    Pound for pound, probably better than the HK. The 220 is almost entry level, while those speakers are deserving of good mid-fi seperates or better.
    For most content, you are fine. But if you like -5 on the volume control, get bigger amps or more efficient speakers, I guess...
    Nice setup. [​IMG]
     
  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Yep, now seeing the speakers and specs, I'm going to have to say you are likely underpowered for those speakers. Even with 91dB efficiency, the 4 6-1/2 drivers probably draw a fair amount of current at louder volumes, especially since they say they can handle 30Hz.
    I've never heard of them before, but seem to be pretty nice. The 2000 series are some serious looking speakers, and I really like those stands. [​IMG]
     
  13. Dave_Whiting

    Dave_Whiting Stunt Coordinator

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    THanks guys,

    I got the speakers for a excellent price too.
     
  14. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    I had an AVR320 connected to a pair of Infinity IL60's and with music CDs, I could crank the volume all the way without any audible distortion...well stuff in the room was vibrating, but that's about it [​IMG]
     

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